ERIC Number: ED377542
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jun-10
The Absence of Democratic and Educational Ideals from Contemporary Educational Reform Initiatives.
Fenstermacher, Gary D.
This paper argues that there is a near-complete absence of the ideals of democracy from the rhetoric and results of those who make, influence, and implement educational policy. Tied to this is the assertion that any loss of the educational ideal constitutes a loss of democratic ideal. The connection between education and liberal democracy is explored, and it is concluded that the loss of democratic ideals permits the preservation of privilege and position for the elites, while subjugating the less fortunate groups in society. It is recommended that educators and the educational press regain an understanding of democracy and its present state in America. A dilemma for democracy is how the members of each and every doctrine can find a common basis for preserving union, how to form common space, speech, and commitments while preserving differences. Second, educators and the press must examine ways to foster social capital for the development of character and critical habits of mind, as well as that core of beliefs necessary to assume responsibility for democratic restoration. Dissent, which presents a sustained, thoughtful opposition to a story line, is differentiated from disagreement, which focuses on differences and lack of agreement. Dissent, however, occupies an equal portion of the story with the purpose of informing the debate. The press and professoriate must work together to regain commitment to sustain the ideals of democracy and education. (LMI)
Descriptors: Critical Theory, Democracy, Democratic Values, Educational Change, Educational Philosophy, Educational Policy, Educational Principles, Elementary Secondary Education
Educational Press Association of America, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028 ($5).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Press Association of America, Glassboro, NJ.
Note: Elam Lecture presented at the EDPRESS Conference (Chicago, IL, June 10, 1994).